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Prosecution, West Ham (Mr W Gott)

Volume 149: debated on Friday 16 December 1921

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asked the Home Secretary whether he is aware that Mr. W. Gott was sentenced at the Central Criminal Court on a charge of blasphemy, and that his trial took place on Wednesday, 7th December; that the jury disagreed and were discharged, and a new trial ordered two days later, namely, Friday, 9th December; and that after a long consultation the jury brought in a verdict of guilty and recommended clemency, and the man in question was sentenced to nine months' hard labour; who was responsible for the prosecution and who will pay expenses; if the man in question was ordered out of the borough of West Ham, and under what order or regulation the police had power to do so; and whether he will take action so that in the future any offences against public decency should be dealt with by the ordinary law?

The facts are as stated in the earlier part of the question. The Commissioner of Police instituted the proceedings on the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions, and the expenses will fall on the Metropolitan Police Fund. About a month before the arrest of Gott, he was causing an obstruction in the West Ham district, and a police officer, in accordance with his duty, cautioned him, and caused him to move on. The prosecution was conducted under the ordinary law applicable to such cases. Gott had previously been convicted six times of similar offences.